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What License Do I Need To Open a Pet Store?

You've finally made the decision to start your dream pet store — but you’re not sure how to execute. 

When starting any business, including a pet store, it’s important to make sure you have all of the necessary licenses and permits from the beginning, so that you don’t have to deal with an unnecessary headache in the future.

Before you flip your sign to “open,” you want to make sure you’re in compliance with your local, state, and federal regulations. But where do you start? 

In this blog, we’ll explain what permits and licenses you need to open your pet store — and how to properly apply for them so you can start off on the right foot.


Related Read: How To Open a Pet Shop in 4 Simple Steps


Why Is Proper Licensure Important for My Pet Store?

Yes, obtaining the proper licensure for your pet store is important for complying with legal requirements — but that’s not the only benefit. It also helps you build trust with your customers, especially if you’re selling animals.

Make sure you’re always open and honest with your customers. Be genuine and show your customers how much you care about their pets. When you have all of the correct licenses, you build credibility as a pet store owner. In turn, you bring more customers into your pet store.


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What License Do I Need To Open a Pet Store?

Having the correct licenses and permits is incredibly important — especially for small businesses owners. Here is a list of the licenses you need to open your pet store.

1. Business License

First, you need a business license. This is a general license that all legally operating businesses need. It allows you to operate your pet store legally in the location that you’ve chosen to set up shop.

Having a general business license for your pet store also builds credibility with your customers because it shows compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Apply for your business license as soon as possible to make sure that everything is in order before you open your pet store’s doors.

2. Pet Dealer’s License

A pet dealer’s license ensures the welfare of the pets that you’re selling. It verifies that your store is following specific protocol for the animal’s care, housing, and overall health standard. You need this license for your pet store so that your customers trust you, and so you and your employees have the proper education to care for your animals.

In addition to keeping the pets safe, a pet dealer’s license also protects your customers, promotes public health, and ensures responsible pet trade. Apply for this license early to guarantee that your pet store is in compliance with industry standards.

3. Import/Export Permits

An import/export license can be important depending on what your product plans are. If you plan to only sell products made domestically, you won’t need to worry about this. However, if you’re planning on sourcing your products from all over the world, you need to apply for an import license in the U.S. or in Canada to ensure all of your products are legally sourced.

4. Other Local Permits

Other permits you need for your pet store include general zoning and health department permits. Zoning permits are needed if your store’s building wasn’t already properly zoned as a business. You can check the status of your building by contacting your local zoning department.

Health department permits are particularly important in a pet store because you’ll most likely have pets walking around your store on a regular basis. You want to make sure that your building is clean and up to code for you and your employees, the animals, and your customers. You can apply for this permit by looking up the health department for your area.


Related Read: Understanding the Demand for Pet Services in Your Area: A Guide for Retail Pet Business Owners


The Application Process

Now that you know what permits and licenses you need to apply for, it’s time to apply. Although each application process is different, we suggest you follow these general steps to make the application process as smooth as possible:

  1. Gather the proper information.
  2. Prepare all the necessary documentation.
  3. Submit your application with ample time, so you can receive your permits and licenses before your pet store opens.
  4. Make sure your store is ready for inspection, if required.
  5. Follow up and receive your license.

Following these guidelines will ensure that you receive your license for your pet store as quickly as possible. But, ultimately, the wait period will depend on the organization.


Compliance and Renewal

Once you’ve received the licenses you need for your pet store, the work isn’t over. A piece of paper doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t keeping your store in compliance with the rules and regulations provided by each organization. Make sure to do periodic audits on your store to make sure that everything is in line.

You’ll most likely need to renew your permit at some point. Keep track of your permit renewal date so you can stay ahead of it. You don’t want any of your licenses to expire — you may be required to go through a more rigorous re-application process.


Your Pet Store Is Licensed and Ready To Go (Almost)

You’ve finally received all of the licenses you need for your pet store — you’re almost ready to sell your products! Now that you’re supported by proper licensure, you need the support to sell within your pet store.

eTailPet is an all-in-one point of sale (POS) system made specifically for pet stores. It’s equipped with the integrations you need to easily manage your inventory, create your e-commerce website, and market to your customers.

Plus, eTailPet is a cloud-based system, which means you can access the software from anywhere with an internet connection. 

You have the licenses you need to sell to pet owners — now you need the best POS software to support your business. 

Schedule a demo with eTailPet today to see how you can take your pet store to the next level.